Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you probably stumbled upon at least a handful of articles and ads about how great Canada is and how more and more people immigrate there. And if you read any of them, you probably figured out that getting there is a somewhat complicated process.
Looking for an Adventure?
What you probably haven’t read is that there’s an alternative created especially for those who want to experience Canada for just a few months: the Working Holiday Visa to Canada.
This program is devised specifically for young people who either want to take a gap year or want to be a little more adventurous after finishing college. And when it comes to adventures, Canada is, surprisingly, a great destination.
Sure, you won’t be able to go to the beach every day unless you want to try out the Wim Hof method, but Canada is probably second to none when it comes to mountains and breathtaking scenery. You can see Niagara Waterfall, the Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains, Whistler, just to name a few of these spectacular locations. Equally beautiful are some of Canada’s historic locations like Old Quebec (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), St. John’s Signal Hill National Historic Site, or Old Montreal (not a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
How to Get Your Visa
Applying for this visa is pretty straightforward. Here are the steps you have to take:
- Find out if you are eligible by taking a questionnaire on the Canadian government’s website.
- Receive your Invitation to Apply (ITA). This might take some time.
- Apply for the visa. After you receive the ITA, you have 10 days to accept it and then another 20 to submit your documentation and pay the application fees.
- You’ll have to go to a Visa Application Center (VAC) to submit your biometrics.
- Receive your final approval – the Port of Entry Letter.
The application process’s total taxes add up to $335 CAD: $150 CAD participation fee, $100 CAD work permit fee, and $85 CAD biometrics submission fee.
Once you receive your letter, you can start packing and book your ticket. But before you can enter the country, you will need to provide the immigration officer some additional information:
- Proof that you have $2,500 CAD – it has to be less than 7 days old
- Proof that you have a return ticket or the money to buy one (besides the $2,500 CAD)
- Proof of insurance for the entire duration of your stay in Canada
If you don’t have these, expect to be turned back by the immigration officer.
Unfortunately, right now, only 35 countries are into this program. The entire list can be found on the Canadian government website. There’s also an age restriction. You have to be between 18 and 30 (or 35 in some cases) at the time of the application to be considered for the program.
Depending on where you’re from, you can get a visa valid for 12 or 24 months.
Enough Money to Fuel Your Adventures
Don’t expect to make a fortune during the period spent in Canada. You’ll most likely earn close to minimum wage, which is still more than enough for your current needs. The current general minimum wage is $14.25 CAD/hour, so roughly $2,500 CAD per month if you work full time.
This is enough to be able to travel every weekend wherever you like. Some people want to just work non-stop for 6-8 months and save up so they can spend the last 4-6 months just traveling and sightseeing from coast to coast before heading back home.
It Helps if You Want to Move There
Your Working Holiday Visa can also be a big help if, after you return home, you decide you want to move to Canada permanently. It will improve your Canadian CRS score and give you a better shot at receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Having already been to Canada for a year will also help you adjust to the Canadian lifestyle much easier.
The Working Holiday Visa is a great way to experience Canada without having to move there permanently. It’s an excellent experience for anyone who just graduated from high school or college and who wants some adventure before their next important step in life.
And who knows, after this experience you might even fall in love with Canada and decide you want to move there permanently. In this case, having the holiday work experience will help a lot.